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Biden staffer demands student reporter delete photos

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 14, 2013 at 12:30 PM   |   Comments

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March 14 (UPI) -- Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary Kendra Barkoff apologized to a student reporter after a press office staffer demanded that he delete photos he took at an open-press event in Rockville, Maryland.

The staffer told Jeremy Barr, a credentialed reporter for University of Maryland's Capital News Service, that he had to delete his photos because he was standing in the non-press area. The staffer then watched as Barr deleted all of his photos, before asking to see his iPhone to ensure no pictures had been taken with that device.

Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland filed a formal complaint with Biden's press office. “This was pure intimidation,” Dalglish said, adding that “it’s clear from the circumstance that the journalist did nothing wrong.”

In a statement to POLITICO, Barkoff called the incident an "unfortunate mistake" that "will never happen again."

"It is our policy that all of our open press events are open press even if a reporter is not in the designated press area. This was an unfortunate mistake by a staffer who does not regularly interact with the press. Once we learned about it I immediately apologized to the Dean of the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the reporter involved and to the newspaper. It will never happen again."

The student reporter was covering a domestic violence event featuring Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin for the student-run Capital News Service. Barr said he unknowingly sat in a section designated as a non-press area. “I didn’t see any demarcation that would have designated a press entrance versus a general entrance,” Barr said.

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